SEATTLE - Maksim Ghyvoronosky is trying to catch lightning in a bottle. Again. But this time, he promises he'll be ready.
Ghyvoronsky is the owner and creator of Maksimatic, a Seattle-based startup that specializes in spill-proof cup holders with a half-spherical upper tilting that allows a beverage up to a 25-degree angle on a 360-degree swiveling joint that prevents spilling.
Ghyvornosky promises the cup holder is the "next logical step" in beverage-holding design.
"I truly believe all cup holders should be like this," Ghyvornosky explains with a tone only devout believers possess. "There is nothing like this."
In early September 2014, Ghyvoronsky produced a short video showing him driving around with two cups filled to the brim. The cups were placed in a Maksimatic cup holder prototype design. In the video, Ghyvoronsky takes sharp left turns, right turns and stops.
Not a drop spills from the cups.
The video has been viewed more than 800,000 times.
The video was only intended for a few friends and close family members, Ghyvoronsky says. But his cousin posted it to Reddit, and it quickly had more than 100,000 views and shot to the top of the front page on the popular sharing site.
"I would have hardly shared the video on Facebook," Ghyvoronsky says. "I made it with my cell phone. It wasn't really well done. It went viral on accident."
From accidental viral success to many questions
The video quickly hit 500,000 views and Ghyvoronsky was receiving "thousands" of emails from interested customers. From all over the world, people wanted to get their hands on the cup holder that was spill-proof.
There was a problem, though. Ghyvoronsky did not have thousands of cup holders ready to ship to interested buyers.
The model was intended for car manufacturers. The idea he patented was to be sold to car companies, leaving them the burden of figuring out how to manufacture the cup holders on a mass scale.
After the video went viral, interest in an aftermarket product remained steady. But frustratingly, no car companies came forward to invest in his factory model. Without them, his idea had no legs. An aftermarket product was possible, but only after months of research and trial and error. And that's what happened.
After a few months, the lust for the product had died as countless other products and videos took the Internet's attention away from Maksimatic cup holders.
"I wish now it could have gone differently," Ghyvoronsky says. "(The viral video) opened up doors. But nothing in the way we'd imagined."
Now, Ghyvoronsky has developed an aftermarket version that is ready to hit the manufacturer. Called the Maksimatic Bullet Spill-Preventing Cup Holder System, the latest design hosts a swiveling cup that hangs into a cavity, tilting up to about a 20-degree angle on a 360-degree joint. It sits about four inches above a standard cup holder, and "essentially does everything (the original) cup holder does," Ghyvoronsky says.
The only problem is he doesn't have the $100,000 needed to begin production. In the digital age, what is great for raising capital for a desirable, unique product? A viral video, of course.
"I've lost a lot of traction and momentum," Ghyvoronsky says. "I had so much publicity at the wrong time. It's a little bit harder now going out."
Capturing success again
Since producing the Bullet, Ghyvoronsky made a second video with the new product that has "about 12 views," Ghyvoronsky says. While it's light years away from the popularity his previous video garnered, it will take more than low video views to keep him from continuing.
On Wednesday, Ghyvoronsky launched a Kickstater for the Bullet, aimed at raising the $100,000 necessary to go to production. For pledging $25 to the Kickstarter, donors get their own Bullet, fit to hold a standard 16 ounce cup.
As of Thursday, only 17 backers pledged money to the product. He's hoping to get a spike in donors soon. He hopes some of those emailers from back in September will notice the Kickstarter and regain interest in the product.
"I have hope for this crowding-funding campaign," Ghyvoronsky says. "I want to help people to enjoy the benefits of this."
Ghyvoronsky admits he had something -- a viral video -- that many inventors only dream of achieving. But for him, the lightning in a bottle of viral fame came too soon. So he keeps on, knowing that with luck and hard work, he can capture it again.
"I had this ship sailing on a steady stream," Ghyvoronsky explains. "Then this storm, a storm different than I'd imagined, blows us in a completely different direction. It's not wrong because it's a different direction. It's headed to a great destination."